South Padre Island is a popular spot, especially during spring break! Read on to find out what warnings and dangers you should be aware of before you go.
The Beach Of course, you’ll want to walk barefoot along the beach, but be careful, jellyfish and Portugese man-of-war have been spotted along the beach. Even after these animals die, their tentacle can pack a powerful sting, so don’t touch or step on these creatures! Also beware of broken beer bottles and other litter. There are steep fines for leaving such items on the beach, but it still happens.
Surf conditions are closely monitored at South Padre, and signs with flags are posted all along the beach to warn visitors about the conditions of the water. Make sure to pay attention to these signs as at times the water can be dangerous to swim in. A red flag means that high surf and dangerous currents are present, yellow indicates calm to moderate seas, blue flags mean that venomous marine life is in the area. Always use caution, regardless of the flag system and take note that there aren’t lifeguards on the beach, so if you get into trouble, there are no professionals around to help.
There are some places on South Padre where you are allowed to drive on the beach, but make sure that you aren’t attempting to drive across any of the dunes. It is illegal and the chances of getting stuck aren’t worth the risk. Take caution driving on the sand even in the areas where it is allowed, loose sand means that you could easily get stuck. For a $3 fee you can enter at beach access #5, Atwood Park. The ramp here is usually well maintained which means less of a chance of getting stuck.
Due to its popularity and reputation for being a party spot, there are lots of police at South Padre Island. Take posted speed limit signs very seriously during your visit, if you exceed the limit, you will get a ticket. You will also get ticketed if you aren’t wearing a seatbelt, so make sure you buckle up! The police are always out in full force and they don’t mess around, glass containers are forbidden on the beach and getting caught with one will get you a hefty fine. Drinking and driving is a major no-no unless you want to go to jail and even getting too intoxicated while walking can be risky. Officers will not hesitate to arrest you for public intoxication.
Because of the islands fairly close proximity to Mexico you may also encounter customs border agents or roadblocks, so don’t be surprised if you are stopped or even asked to let a drug dog inspect your vehicle.
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